Last-minute car grooming hacks for Chinese New Year
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Wanna get your car shiny in a hurry, but can't book a groomer or are unwilling to pay the 'CNY premium'? Follow these car grooming hacks instead!

Category: Car Maintenance Advice

We're barely past the year-end holidays of 2022, but for many of us, it's already time to prep for an even bigger event: Chinese New Year. That means it's time to prep those hongbaos, book those reunion dinners, and spring clean your house.

For drivers, CNY also means it's time to send the car to the groomer. Whether it's to impress relatives, start the new year right, or just feel good in general, a detailed car is always nice.

But if you know you'll be busy with other preparations and/or can't book a groomer without paying the 'CNY premium', then it's time to DIY. Follow these car grooming hacks to get your ride shiny in a jiffy!

Rinse before washing

A pressure washer will help you make light work of any dirt on the car body
Getting your car to glow begins with this step. The two-bucket method is preferred, but if you can't spare the time, give your car a thorough rinse before you begin instead.

The lower half of the vehicle is always the dirtiest, so try to blast away as much dirt here as you can. If you have a hatchback or SUV, pay attention to the tailgate, as this is where grime mostly accumulates. Don't forget to rinse your wheels as well.

Getting rid of as much dirt as possible before the actual contact washing will reduce the risk of you actually adding more scratches to the paintwork.

Generous shampooing

Car shampoo is relatively inexpensive, so don't be afraid to use a bit more than recommended
Car shampoos are designed to be mixed in a bucket of water, but who says you can't apply some to your wash mitt? Do this for particularly dirty areas so that the shampoo helps trap dirt and provide more lubrication. Again, the aim is to avoid more scratches.

Since time is of the essence, wash your car from top to bottom. It's actually best to start by washing the wheels and tyres first (these are the dirtiest parts of the car), but since you're in a hurry, save this step for later.

Now, if you don't have a dedicated wheel cleaner, don't worry. You can also use car shampoo to clean your rims. It may not work as well as a wheel cleaner if the brake dust is thick, but it's better than nothing.

Go for a 2-in-1 formula

Auto Finesse's Tripple conveniently contains a polish, a glaze, and carnauba wax for protection
Giving your car a perfectly deep shine and gleaming finish takes a long time because it requires steps such as claying, compounding, polishing, and waxing. But since efficiency is key, a 2-in-1 product that polishes and waxes your paintwork in a single step is what you want.

Specifically, polish is what makes paint look shiny. By removing a layer of clear coat, the surface is evened-out and the lighter scratches disappear. A wax's main job is to protect the paint - it cannot make a dull surface in need of correction shiny.

Spray for speed

Spray waxes are the quickest solution for a time-strapped car owner who needs that shine
Now, if your paintwork is in relatively good condition, you can skip the polishing altogether and just use a spray wax. Compared to a liquid or paste wax, which has to be applied and allowed to cure before the excess is buffed off, a spray wax lets you spray, wipe and walk away.

You don't need to use a lot either. One or two sprays per door, four spritzes for the bonnet and maybe three for the roof are plenty. Less is always more because your clear coat can only absorb so much.

If you want to save even more time, find a spray wax that works on wet surfaces. That way, after washing your car, you can wax while drying it!

Don't forget the tyres

Cleaning your tyres before applying a dressing will ensure that the product stays on longer
Given the need for a quick shine, this step is optional. However, dark and shiny tyre sidewalls will really make your car look like it came from a grooming shop.

Clean tyres and wheels complete your car's look. It's like wearing clean clothes with clean shoes. You wouldn't want to pair your CNY ensemble with muddy footwear, right?

Professional groomers are sticky about such details, and if you adopt this mentality (at least for the wheels and tyres), you can make your car look like it was given proper TLC, as opposed to a last-minute detailing job.

Looking for more car grooming advice? Check out these stories

Shinier and glossier: Products to upgrade your detailing routine

How to keep your car clean with minimal effort

Wax, ceramic, graphene, or sealant: Which should you use?

Does rainwater clean your car, or do you still need to wash it after driving in the rain?

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